Birthmothers Day 2018

Birthmothers Day 2018

So we had a little event this evening. And when I say  little, I mean little. We had 4 birthmoms in attendance – 3 of us who spoke, and one who was there but didn’t say anything or contribute. Glad you showed up, Ana’s birthmom!

If you’d like to see the video, please click here to watch it.

I was just poking my head around a birthmom support group on Facebook. Lots of angry rants – and sad ones. Easy to judge, I realize. Hard to relate, though, because I never spent time in that wallowing, victim, poor-me space. I empathize, for certain. But so many of these women’s comments remind me of the comments from those women in  that chatroom all those years ago. I wasn’t in that headspace then, when my son was a toddler; the intervening years have only given me even more time for healing. I worry when I read rants from women whose children are in their 20s. That means they’re well into the double digits of years, still feeling angry and hurt and sorry for themselves. That’s an awful long time to carry around such powerfully negative emotions.

I realize that the grieving process is different for everyone – but the goal should be to move through the grief and get on with life, not suffer with it for the rest of forever. I believe one way to help women exorcise that grief is by normalizing and destigmatizing the birthmother experience. Virtual events like the one we held tonight go a long way toward doing that by taking the birthmother story out in the open where people previously unaware can become more enlightened about the path – and struggle – of the birthmother in any adoption.

One woman in this support group comments, “Why single us out?” She is missing the entire point. It’s not about singling out birthmoms, but rather giving them a day where they don’t feel out of place. Birthmoms who’ve had no subsequent children, who are still keeping the adoption a secret, and/or who don’t consider themselves moms in any true sense tend to shy away from Mothers Day. Birthmothers Day recognizes them, specifically, just as Mothers Day recognizes all moms, not any specific kind of mother.

Many years ago, I wrote the following poem. I no longer have the original, so I don’t know the date. Suffice to say it was sometime between March 1995 and today. It’s called The Birthmother You Know. Please feel free to reprint and/or share it at will, as long as my byline remains attached.

The Birthmother You Know

by LAURA ORSINI

We are women.
We are soul. We are spirit. We are body. We are mind. We are voice.
We are 19. We are 39. We are 79.
We have college degrees. We are dropouts.
We are lesbians. We are hetero.
We are sane. We are institutionalized.
We’ve parented. We’ve aborted. We’ve remained childless.
We are marginalized. We are united.
We feel guilty. We are proud.
We are sickly. We are healthy.
We are married. We are divorced. We are single.
We are grieving. We’ve released our grief.
We are leaders. We are followers.
We are flaky. We are brilliant.
We are beautiful. We are plain.
We are strong. We are weak.
We are passive. We are aggressive.
We are angry. We’ve made peace.
We are shy. We are popular.
We are addicts. We are in recovery. We are drug-free.
We are famous. We are obscure. We are infamous.
We are students. We are teachers.
We are homeless. We are employed.
We have lots of regrets. We have few regrets.
We are sexy. We find sex shameful.
We are spiritual. We are agnostic. We are atheist.
We are spenders. We are savers.
We’ve followed our passions. We’re held hostage by lives we’ve settled for.
We are optimists. We are pessimists.
We are tall. We are short.
We are fat. We are thin.
We are friends. We are enemies.
We are chaotic. We are organized.
We relinquished. We surrendered. We placed.
We are lovers. We are fighters.
We are simple. We are complicated.
We are vegetarians. We eat meat.
We’ve had reunions. We long for reunions. We run from reunions.
We are accomplished. We are struggling.
We are fearless. We fear everything.
We are silent. We are outspoken.
We’ve shared our adoption stories. We’ve told no one about our adoptions.
We are wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, grandmothers, granddaughters.
We are mothers who love the children we said goodbye to.
We walk among you.

 

 

Serendipity Is Fun!

Serendipity Is Fun!

If you’re anything like me, perhaps you’ve moved sometime in the last 100 years, and among the items you carried into your new space were a few boxes, crates, or Rubbermaid containers filled with things you’ve haven’t looked at since. Things you’ve moved once, twice, three times … maybe more. Boxes you couldn’t possibly throw away, even though you also couldn’t say what was in them if you had to. Such has been my way for the last two moves, the first in 2007 and then again in 2015. This time, however, things have changed! Thanks to my mentors from the Arizona Marketing Association, I’ve had a lesson in purging – getting rid of old things instead of continuing to move them from home to home. And I am implementing what I’ve learned.

Most of the things filling my boxes are of the paper variety. So far, I’ve filled our City of Phoenix recycle bin, and have discarded enough further paper to fill it at least once more. The good news is that in actually taking the time to sort through all the boxes, I have come across some treasures. Several include photos of my son from his grade school days. But the one that made me smile the most was this note, and the attached photocopy.

Note from Kathy

Here is Eric’s writing “sample”:

Winter
by Eric S.

Winter is here
Christmas is near
Children play outside
couldn’t build a snowman, but I tried

Inside there’s hot coaco blankets and more
because it’s not warm out anymore
come on in Mark
don’t play out in the dark

Kids all snug in their beds cozy and warm
in hopes that tomorrow it won’t storm
in case it does they have games to play
just like they had to yesterday

They cant wait for Christmas when Santa comes
when every one gets presents even the bumbs
They have to leave cookies out for santa to eat
and carrots too, to give the reindeer a treat

The tree is ready decorations are up
when parents drink hot coaco out of a cup
children cant sleep cause Christmas is near
they wait for sleigh bells or maybe reindeer

Christmas is here finally at last
when parents have fun children have a blast
come on guys the presents are near
and besides I want to see what’s in this one here.

Kathy once asked me from whom Eric seemed to have inherited his sweet tooth, particularly his penchant for Oreos. That one was easy: his paternal grandmother, Diane. How did he come by the skill to load his own software onto the computer at age 2? His birthdad. I’ve never been much of a poet, but it’s nice to think that maybe he does have at least a bit of my writing skill.